Van Soest, R.W.M.; Beglinger, E.J.; de Voogd, N.J. (2013). Microcionid sponges from Northwest Africa and the Macaronesian Islands (Porifera, Demospongiae, Poecilosclerida). Zoölogische Mededelingen Leiden. 87 (4): 275-404.
Van Soest, R.W.M.; Beglinger, E.J.; de Voogd, N.J.
Microcionid sponges from Northwest Africa and the Macaronesian Islands (Porifera, Demospongiae, Poecilosclerida)
A monographic treatment is presented of sponges belonging to the family Microcionidae occurring in Northwest African waters and around the offshore oceanic islands (Cape Verde Islands, Canary Islands, Madeira Archipelago, Azores, and Ascension Island). The material examined was obtained by Dutch expeditions to these waters during the period 1976-1988, complemented with a few additional samples, all of which are incorporated in the sponge collection of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. In these collections we identified 29 microcionid species, including 17 species new to science, which are all extensively described and illustrated with SEM photos of the spicules, light microscopy photos of the skeletal structure, and photos of the habit of – usually preserved – specimens. The research was supported by re-examined type and other original specimens obtained on loan from major museum collections, and many additional illustrations of these specimens are added for comparison. We also reviewed published descriptions of sponge specimens from the study area, which we were unable to obtain for reexamination, and attempted to draw conclusions about their identity. We conclude that the microcionid fauna of the region comprises approximately 45-48 species (several of the unverified published records remain of uncertain identification), belonging to the genera Clathria (subfamily Micorocioninae), Antho, Artemisina and Ophlitaspongia (subfamily Ophlitaspongiinae). Based on the review of this fauna, we propose to revive two previously synonymized subgenera, Clathria (Paresperia) Burton, and Antho (Plocamia) Schmidt. We provide a key for the identification of microcionid species of the region. We discuss the morphological characters used to distinguish microcionid sponges and comment on distribution patterns.